A groundhog crosses the road and enters a burrow just cleared of snow. A song sparrow sings close enough that I can see his throat throb.
In the silence after the bulldozer stops, a song sparrow sings his lying spring song over and over. A gauze of stratus cloud dims the sun.
Parallel relics of the plow, the only snow yet to go glows in the dim light. A song sparrow by the spring house sings his spring song.
Despite the cold, a song sparrow warbles in the bushes. Inside, a shrill chirp from the smoke alarm—a dying battery’s swan song.
Sunny but still cold at 9:00. A fly walks slowly up a porch column. Water gurgles in the ditch. Three kinds of sparrows trade songs.
Windy and cold, with a new skim of snow on the ground. Song sparrow and bluebird bubble over with what sounds today like forced cheer.
Early morning sounds like spring, with cardinals, titmice and song sparrows tuning up. A rabbit stands on its hind legs to reach lilac buds.
From behind the springhouse, the opening notes of a song sparrow’s song, and a moment later, the closing notes of a white-throated sparrow.
Home after a week away, what’s changed? The song sparrows are back, ebullient as ever, and the dead cherry has shed another shaggy limb.
Small rain on an east wind. Swelling buds impart a faint red hue to the woods’ edge, and a song sparrow states the obvious: spring is here.
Cold as it is, the birds seem to avoid the sun. In one shadow, a wren putt-putts. In another, a song sparrow shakes water from his wings.
Sparrows and finches chitter in the half-light. A song sparrow sings beside the springhouse, a sound I haven’t heard here in over a year.
The song sparrow sings at first light—just once, like an alarm going off. Then nothing but the creek’s quiet conversation for 20 minutes.
A wedge of geese, high against the clouds, headed due north: migrants. The first song sparrow of the year breaks into his trademark song.
Cold drizzle. The burble of a song sparrow. A flycatcher of indeterminate species flutters up from the foxtail millet beside the stream.
I keep hearing fragments of song—winter wren, bluebird, song sparrow—and the usual tight flock of siskins in a walnut tree going zzzzzzip.